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Thursday, 03 April 2008 19:47
NHL Headline News

 WASHINGTON (AP) -Alex Ovechkin scored two goals to set an NHL record for left wings and the Washington Capitals moved a step closer to the playoffs with a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Ovechkin broke Luc Robitaille's single-season record of 63 goals set in 1992-93 with his 64th and 65th scores.
The win put the Capitals into the top eight in the Eastern Conference, although they have only one game left to play while most of their rivals for the final playoff spots still have two to go. Washington likely needs to beat Florida at home in Saturday's regular season finale to reach the postseason for the first time since 2003.
The Capitals have won six in a row - their longest winning streak since Jan. 8-19, 2000. Boyd Gordon and Tom Poti added insurance goals for Washington and Cristobal Huet made 18 saves for his eighth straight win.
The Lightning dropped their third straight overall and lost leading scorer Vincent Lecavalier with 13:15 remaining in the game when he fell awkwardly after a hit by Washington's Milan Jurcina.
Red Wings 3, Blue Jackets 2
DETROIT (AP) - Henrik Zetterberg wrapped up the Presidents' Trophy for Detroit, scoring with 11 seconds left to give the Red Wings a victory.
With 113 points, the Red Wings took the title of regular-season points leaders and earned home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Mark Hartigan and Johan Franzen also scored for Detroit, and Dominik Hasek made 20 saves.
Ron Hainsey and Aaron Rome had the Blue Jackets' goals, and Pascal Leclaire stopped 36 shots.
Zetterberg got his winner by banking the puck off Leclaire from behind the net for his 43rd goal.
Rangers 3, Islanders 0
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) - Jaromir Jagr scored two power-play goals in a 2-minute span of the first period, Henrik Lundqvist stopped 25 shots, and the Rangers clinched an Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Lundqvist earned his 10th shutout of the season and 17th in the NHL.
In 90 career games against the Islanders, Jagr has 58 goals and 81 assists. No one has scored more goals versus the Islanders, and Jagr hasn't taken advantage any team nearly as much.
The Rangers are fifth in the East and still have their sights on the fourth-place New Jersey Devils and home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. New York is two points behind with two games to play, and the area rivals will close the regular season against each other Sunday in New Jersey.
Canadiens 3, Sabres 1
MONTREAL (AP) - Bryan Smolinski scored twice, Carey Price came within 8:30 of posting his second straight shutout, and Montreal eliminated Buffalo from the playoff race.
Chris Higgins also scored for Montreal, which is tied with Pittsburgh atop the Eastern Conference with 102 points.
Both teams have one game left but the Canadiens need to finish at least a point ahead of the Penguins to win the conference because Pittsburgh has 47 wins, one more than Montreal.
The Canadiens host Toronto on Saturday night. The Penguins complete their season Sunday in Philadelphia.
Ales Kotalik scored his 23rd goal for Buffalo, which reached the conference finals the last two seasons.
Wild 3, Flames 1
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Marian Gaborik scored two third-period goals to help the Minnesota beat Calgary and clinch the first division title in the franchise's seven seasons.
Minnesota's Jacques Lemaire also earned his 500th career victory and became the 12th coach in NHL history to reach that mark.
Minnesota will be the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and have an extra home game for at least the first round.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 23 saves for Calgary, which clinched a playoff spot Vancouver lost to Edmonton later Thursday.
Predators 3, Blues 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - J.P. Dumont scored the tying goal and assisted on the game-winner for Nashville.
Jerred Smithson and Greg de Vries also scored and Jan Hlavac had three assists to help the Predators beat the Blues for the second time in three nights.
Jay McClement and David Backes scored for the Blues.
Nashville won five of the last six meetings with St. Louis, with the wins all coming by one goal.
Senators 8, Maple Leafs 2
TORONTO (AP) - Antoine Vermette scored three goals and Ottawa moved within a point of wrapping up a playoff berth.
The Senators, who scored three short-handed goals, can clinch a playoff spot Friday night when they close out the regular season at home against Boston.
Ottawa might have to play without captain Daniel Alfredsson, who left Thursday's game with what the team called an upper body injury following a hit by Toronto's Mark Bell.
Vermette had his first career hat trick, Dany Heatley scored a pair of goals, and Dean McAmmond, Cody Bass and Jason Spezza also scored for the Senators, who remained in sixth place in the Eastern Conference at 94 points, three ahead of ninth-place Philadelphia.
Bell and Dominic Moore scored for the Leafs.
Stars 4, Coyotes 2
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Brenden Morrow scored and added an assist to lead Dallas, which secured no worse than the fifth playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Matt Niskanen, Stephane Robidas and Mike Modano also scored for the Stars, who won for just the third time in 12 games (3-7-2).
Dallas will face fourth-place Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs, though the Stars still could catch the Ducks and gain home ice.
Enver Lisin and Keith Ballard scored for the Coyotes, who lost for the eighth time in nine games (1-7-1).
Oilers 2, Canucks 1
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Dwayne Roloson made 13 of his 37 saves in the third period, and Edmonton knocked Vancouver out of the playoffs.
Needing a win to regain control of their playoff fate after Calgary lost earlier in Minnesota, the Canucks couldn't even manage a goal until Alexandre Burrows jammed one in on the power play with 6:57 left in the third.
It was too little, too late as the Canucks lost for the sixth time in seven games to miss the playoffs for the second time in three years.
Marty Reasoner and Jarret Stoll scored in the second period for the Oilers, whose 13-4-1 late-season playoff push ended with a loss to Calgary on Tuesday.
Kings 4, Sharks 2
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Anze Kopitar scored twice in the final 5:38 to help Los Angeles hand San Jose its first regulation loss in 21 games.
Brian Willsie and Raitis Ivanans, who totaled seven goals in the Kings' first 80 games, both scored against Vezina Trophy candidate Evgeni Nabokov before Kopitar got his 31st of the season with 5:38 remaining for the go-ahead goal and added an empty-netter with 4 seconds left.
The loss was the Sharks' first that didn't involve overtime or a shootout since Feb. 20, when the New Jersey Devils beat them 3-2 in Newark.
Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist for San Jose and Joe Pavelski got the tying goal on a power play with 16:57 left in the third period.
 

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